Lake County is leading a wave of an aging population. The current demographics show that, by 2030, more than half the population will be over 60 years old. Local transportation, health, and social services structures are unprepared for this demographic shift. Challenges come with serving a remote area, compounded by the low income faced by one-third of residents in the area. Often younger people and families will move away from Lake County for more diverse employment opportunities, and the workforce shortage makes finding affordable help for aging adults difficult. North Shore Area Partners wants to fill those gaps in service and support.
2023 marks North Shore Area Partners (NSAP)’s 20th year of providing compassionate and confidential support for adults aged 60+ who wish to remain in their homes for as long as they safely can. NSAP coordinates over 60 volunteers annually to assist over 200 individuals participating in NSAP’s services. Their 245D license, obtained in 2019, enables NSAP to offer in-home personal care and nursing assistance, which can help delay or prevent placement into a nursing home. NSAP also works with North Shore AGE to Age and the North Shore Mental Health Group as both a fiscal agent and collaborator. Together, the groups organize and implement many intergenerational and mental health programs, including outdoor movie showings, Reading Pals, Bentleyville outings, and geocaching events.
Many social activities for seniors are a fantastic way to get connected and stay involved with other community members. You can obtain a physical activity calendar from NSAP’s office, or check their Facebook page or website for monthly activities. Activities, held at NSAP’s office in Silver Bay’s Shopping Center, have included adult coloring, puzzle time, cribbage, bridge, Mexican train dominoes, arts and crafts, and health care directive workshops.
Some regularly scheduled activities include RSVP Bone Builders, held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. This class can increase your strength and balance. After working out, head over to Coffee Connection, hosted from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a social time with warm drinks, goodies, and conversation.
On the third Thursday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can get your blood pressure checked for free, or make an appointment for non-medical nail care.
Fall 2022 saw the launching of two congregate dining programs in collaboration with AEOA. Senior Meals is part of AEOA’s Senior Nutrition services, and features meals developed and approved by a registered and licensed dietician and offered at a lower cost. Senior Meals encourages older adults to eat healthy food in a social setting, benefitting both mental and physical health. If you are over 60, come to NSAP (located in Silver Bay’s Shopping Center) on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and choose from 13 meal options from Northwoods’ Senior Menu. A NSAP staff member or volunteer will deliver the food to you, and you can enjoy a meal with other seniors. From September to December 2022, there were 60 participants in this program.
October 2022 kicked off Finland Community Senior Meals, hosted the third Monday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clair Nelson Center in Finland. Finland resident Elizabeth Storm provides delicious home-cooked meals for this event. Prior meals have included chef salads with fresh vegetables, creamy wild rice soup made with local ingredients, and lake trout burrito bowls. The meals are accompanied by tasty sides, a dessert, and a presentation on recent topics in health care. 2022 saw 37 participants in this program.
AEOA handles all registration and cancellation for Meals on Wheels, but NSAP volunteers deliver the meals on Wednesdays.
North Shore Area Partners also strives to be a “one-stop shop” for older adults and caregivers to find resources to help seniors age in place while maintaining or regaining independence. An on-site, free medical equipment loan closet provides a place for folks to borrow canes, walkers, wheelchairs and other sundry items for short or long-term use.
A legal kiosk is available for anyone to access civil legal aid services, legal resources, and a place to attend online meetings and remote court hearings in privacy.
Technology Tuesdays, from 11 am to 12 pm for drop-ins and for those with appointments from 12 to 2 pm, are a resource to help you navigate your personal devices.
Tax prep through AARP Foundation begins in February, and Medicare assistance is available during the fall open enrollment season.
NSAP helps you navigate care choices, including service planning, financial and health care directives, home safety assessments, paperwork assistance, information and referrals, resource assistance and advocacy, and veteran’s benefits.
Caregivers also have resources available to them. Those caring for a loved one or those who are grieving are invited to inquire about the Caregiver Support Group and the Grief Support Group. NSAP also offers individual support, care assessment and planning, caregiver education, and respite services.
North Shore Area Partners is open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Older adults are encouraged to visit and view local art throughout the building, and to enjoy the community room, featuring puzzles, magazines, a piano, a pool table, and plenty of comfortable seating. Contact North Shore Area Partners with any questions at 218-226-3635, email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit their website at www.nsapartners.org.